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Why being SORE is overrated

I was talking to Shannon the other day about soreness and what being sore really means.

Because currently SORENESS is the measure of whether or not your workout was tough enough. It’s like soreness has become the GOAL of the workout…not deadlifting more or doing more push ups.

While these are funny…And yes occasionally being sore is not only ok but good, this shouldn’t be your goal after every leg workout!

If people don’t get sore after a workout, they all too often think it wasn’t hard enough. That they needed to work harder or do more.

But that just isn’t true.

Honestly, you SHOULD NOT be sore after every single workout.

Because soreness doesn’t truly measure how TOUGH the workout was or even how beneficial it was. (And every workout SHOULD NOT be the toughest thing you’ve ever done anyway!)

I believe that soreness has become a measure for how good our workout is because we don’t track or progress our workouts.

When we don’t have a clear progression and track our results, we don’t have any idea of whether or not our workouts are working.

So we figure that, if we aren’t sore, we didn’t push hard enough that day because we don’t truly know what HARD ENOUGH is.

HARD ENOUGH is getting results.

Are we constantly moving forward?

Soreness doesn’t mean we are moving forward, but in many cases it is the only measurement we have.

And the problem with that is, soreness doesn’t equal growth. It doesn’t mean we are getting closer to our goals.

It just means we did something that broke our body down.

It could mean the workout was super hard. Or it could simply mean that the workout was different. It could also mean that your recovery (nutrition, sleep and such) aren’t on point making you more sore for longer.

So while it could mean we are moving forward, it doesn’t have to mean that.

Soreness isn’t progress. Recovering from the breakdown is what leads to results.

Hard workouts without recovery mean you are constantly breaking your body down without ever letting it grow and repair so it can become stronger.



It just means you did something to break your body down.

It isn’t a measure of success. It doesn’t mean you are gnarly. It doesn’t even mean your workouts are WORKING.

It just means you did something to make yourself sore.

And if you don’t recover, if you don’t have a clear program, all that hard work that made you “sore” will be for nothing more than to feel sore.

So stop thinking of soreness as a sign of success. Stop focusing on making yourself sore from every single workout.

Stop freaking out the next day that you didn’t work hard enough because you aren’t sore!


Track actual results and seek to grow better with each workout NOT just simply get sore.

If you want to get sore, just go out and do the hardest moves you can every day in random order, never repeating the same workout twice. Then you can always be sore and never get anywhere!


The more intensely you work out, the more attention you must pay to your recovery.

Our bodies can get run down by daily life especially when we are working out hard on top of everything else. If we don’t take care of our bodies, then we won’t reap the rewards of all of our workout, and even dieting, efforts!

But recovery doesn’t simply mean taking time off and laying on the couch doing nothing.

Recovery can be active and includes more than just sleep and relaxing. Recovery means stretching and SMR. Recovery means eating correctly and staying hydrated. It can mean contrast showers and icing or applying heat.

It means taking care of any places that need extra TLC.

And it doesn’t mean five seconds of stretching or rolling out. If you actually have areas that feel worn out from the week or bug you from time to time, you have to take care of them.

Ice, stretch, roll out. Do all three and not just every once in a while. Do them every day, numerous times a day to help the problem correct itself more quickly.

More isn’t always better but not enough won’t get you anywhere. If you are a tight person, or have imbalances, rolling out the few times a week you go to the gym (for like a minute before you workout), isn’t going to be enough.

You need to spend time correcting the imbalances. You need to create a program and probably spend time every day for at least a few weeks to help correct the problem.

That can mean activation exercises for the muscles that are underactive. It can mean stretching tight muscles and rolling out knots. It can mean icing muscles that are particularly worn out or areas that get inflamed from lots of use.

One of my favorite recovery moves....child's pose with attention on the lat stretch!

One of my favorite recovery moves….child’s pose with attention on the lat stretch!

It doesn’t mean ignoring the issue or just dealing with the pain. It also doesn’t mean not going to the doctor if your pain is severe or chronic.

BUT it does mean taking care of yourself so that some pain doesn’t become an injury – so that a little tightness or soreness doesn’t turn into an overuse injury or strain.

Even injuries you supposedly “rehabbed” can have long-term consequences if you don’t take care and make sure they are truly recovered. An ankle injury years ago could be the reason why you are now having knee pain, especially if you don’t take care to make sure everything has been rehabbed.

The best recovery program is the one that does something BEFORE you actually have issues!

The better your recovery program, the quicker you will heal from any injuries (or even prevent them from happening in the first place) and the more ready your body will be each week to handle the challenges you throw at it.

So what areas are tight on you? Where do you get knots and soreness? How is your posture? And remember, just because you have low back pain doesn’t mean your low back is tight…it could be a trigger point somewhere else around the area causing the pain!

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